Health Enhancement Through Wise Nutrition
Intro -- Basic Diet and Food Safety
Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.
Balanced nutrition plays one of the most significant roles in our overall health. It is a powerful tool for self care that will help you minimize illness, medication, trips to the doctor, and other health care expenditures. Once you learn new, healthy ways of eating the improved well being and food enjoyment will make it easy never to return to unhealthy dietary habits.
The following nutritional guidelines are generalized recommendations intended to assist average people on their journey towards optimal health. If there are particular health concerns that make it necessary to vary from these generalized guidelines, a qualified nutritional expert should be consulted. The following guidelines are not an all-or-nothing proposition. The more of these suggestions you can incorporate into the daily diet the healthier you will become. How rapidly do you want to become well? How healthy do you want to be?
Basic Nutritional Health Enhancement Guidelines
Let us begin with the poisons not to be put into our bodies:
· alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, or other social drugs
· unnecessary medication
· foods fried in oil or fat, hydrogenated fats or trans-fatty acids such as lard or margarine (fats should contribute only 10-25% of total calories), animal fats, processed omega-6 vegetable oils, especially soy, corn, cottonseed and safflower oils
· sugar, dextrose, corn syrup, saccharin, aspartame, or acesulfame-k
· refined white flour or products containing it
· refined, over-processed, or synthetic food
· artificial colors, sulfites, nitrites, nitrates, BHA, BHT, MSG
Limit the following:
· animal products, especially fats (Lean, organically raised meats should be used if a vegetarian diet is not preferred or suitable for you.)
· salt (Beware of pickled foods...olives, pickles, etc.)
· honey, maple syrup, molasses (Substitute fresh fruit instead.)
· tuna, swordfish, and other mercury polluted fish
Let us look at how to eat:
· Systematic undereating is an important nutritional tip which may help prolong a healthy life.
· The diet should consist of substantial amounts of raw, whole, fresh, clean, nutrient-rich food that is in season. Organically grown produce is highly preferred over food grown with pesticides and herbicides. Not only is it much richer in nutrients the very harmful chemical residues can cause numerous ills. The foods that have the highest pesticide levels are: peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, lettuce, imported grapes, pears, spinach, and potatoes. These foods should always be eaten organically.
· 45-75% of daily caloric intake should come from complex carbohydrates. Proteins should comprise approximately 15-30% and fats 10-25%. A wise blend of whole grains, legumes, beans, seeds, and fresh vegetables should be the core of one’s diet. This also assures high fiber which is so essential to a proper functioning digestive tract.
· Fat consumption should be limited to olive oil, walnuts, fresh flaxseed ground just before consumption, cold-water fish oils, borage seed oil, evening primrose oil. Small amounts of organic butter can be used. Small amounts of coconut oil or whole coconut milk can be used in cooking.
· Eat only when hungry. Eat slowly in a relaxed, unhurried atmosphere.
· Eat several small meals in preference to a few large meals.
· Chew food well.
· Never eat in pain, mental or physical discomfort, when feverish, or working strenuously.
· Refrain from eating 3-4 hours before bedtime.
· Drink plenty of pure water, particularly between meals. (Soda pop, koolaid, etc. are unacceptable.)
· Eat a diversity of foods. Do not eat the same foods day in and day out.
· It is best to rotate foods to once every four days, particularly when allergies are present.
· Keep healthy snacks available (carrot, celery, fruit, etc.).
9,000 Americans die from food poisoning every year.
Tips for safer food:
· Animal products, particularly the fatty portions is where we consume 90% of our harmful chemicals in food. That is, in part, why vegetarianism is statistically so healthy. Buying organic meats is important if we are to consume meats at all.
· Keep meats and eggs adequately cold until just before preparation to reduce bacterial growth.
· Cook meats and eggs thoroughly!
· After handling meat or eggs wash everything they touch in hot, soapy water to avoid bacterial contamination!
· Avoid raw shellfish, eggs, milk, undercooked meats, grilled meats, and moldy peanuts and corn so as to avoid very harmful substances.
· Eat less foods out and more at home where your care, intelligence, and diligence will protect you.
· Beware of foods such as eggs and mayonnaise left out at room temperature for 1 hour or more such as at picnics. Bacteria can grow rapidly during this time.
*Safe Food: Eating Wisely in a Risky World by Michael Jacobson and Lisa Lefferts
Note: Resources throughout this course marked with an asterisk * are “must” books for every healthy household in my opinion and worth much more than their price.
Begin by following as many of the “Basic Nutritional Health Enhancement Guidelines” as possible and all the “Food Safety” principles. Put foods to avoid in one cupboard and one drawer of the refrigerator and see how well you can avoid these “danger areas.” During each successive week of this nutritional course see if you can improve the ratio of good foods to harmful ones.
Nursing home residents who ate meals rich in fish, nuts, or healthy vegetable oil such as olive oil were 60% less likely to develop Alzheimer's Disease. Archives of Neurology, July 2003.
Children who ate larger amounts of fruit when young developed less lung, bowel, and breast cancer than those who ate few fruits. There were also advantages from dying from all causes. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, Feb 2003.
Increasing daily dietary fiber intake can reduce coronary heart disease by 40%. Harvard School of Public Health
Eating omega-3 fatty acid containing fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring increases health promoting fatty acids in blood, decreases blood pressure and increases healthy HDL cholesterol. Circulation, Aug. 19, 2003.
A diet emphasizing fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products, which includes whole grains, poultry, fish and nuts, and only small amounts of red meat, sweets and sugar-containing beverages, and reduced amounts of total and saturated fat and cholesterol can lower blood pressure in patients with and without hypertension. "Effects on Blood Pressure of Reduced Dietary Sodium and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Diet," Sacks FM, Svetkey LP, Vollmer WM, et al, N Engl J Med, January 4, 2001;344(1):3-10.
A "Mediterranean type diet was found to be healthier than an American style diet.
The 8 components defined in the Mediterranean diet are:
1. high monounsaturated-to-saturated fat ratio,
2. moderate alcohol consumption,
3. high consumption of legumes,
4. high consumption of cereals, including bread,
5. high consumption of fruits,
6. high consumption of vegetables,
7. low consumption of meat and meat products, and
8. moderate consumption of milk and dairy products.
"Mediterranean Diet and Longevity," Trichopoulou A, Vasilopoulou E, Br J Nutr, 2000;84(Suppl. 2):S205-S209.
The incidence of cancer could be cut by one-third by changing to a healthier diet. About one-third of the cancers are attributed to smoking, one-third to poor diet and lack of exercise, and one-third to genetics and other factors. The Food and Nutrition Science Alliance recommends eating a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, monitoring fat intake and participating in regular exercise, and reducing alcohol intake. "Cancer, Diet and Lifestyle," Nutrition Week, May 12, 2000;30(19):7. 35152
High dietary fat intake is a significant risk factor for colon, breast, pancreas and probably endometrial and prostate cancers. Obesity increases the risk of cancer in the kidney and the endometrium. Carcinogens can be formed during the cooking of meat. Reducing salt or pickled foods and fat intake and higher consumption of fresh vegetables, fruits and fibers can reduce the risk of cancer. Individual vitamins, trace elements, macronutrients and alcohol are reviewed. "Effect of Diet on Human Carcinogenesis," Tanaka, Takuji, Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology, 1997;25:73-95.
To reduce cancer risk, modifying life-style factors including elimination of tobacco and alcohol and increasing of foods rich in carotenoids, vitamins C and E, limonene, phenols and sulfur compounds. Avoidance of highly salted, pickled, dried and charred foods is recommended. Moldy and damaged food substances need to be totally eliminated. Liberal consumption of yellow and green fresh vegetables and fruit are encouraged. "Diet, Nutrition & Cancer - The Indian Scenario," Krishnaswamy, Kamala and Polasa, Kalpagam, Indian Journal of Medical Research, November, 1995;102:200-209.
The 1996 American Cancer Society guidelines state: 1. Choose most of the foods you eat from plant sources. Eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Eat other foods from plant sources such as breads, cereals, grain products, rice, pasta, or beans several times each day. 2. Limit your intake of high-fat foods, particularly from animal sources. Choose foods low in fat. Limit consumption of meats, especially high fat meats. 3. Be physically active: Achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Be at least moderately active for 30 minutes or more on most days of the week. Stay within your healthy weight range. 4. Limit consumption of alcoholic beverages, if you drink at all. "Limit Intake of Alcohol and Meat, Says Cancer Society," Nutrition Week, September 27, 1996;26(39):3.
Low intakes of fruit and vegetables can double the risk of most types of cancer compared to a high intake. The results are most striking in heart disease and cataracts. Only 9% of the American population consumes 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, the recommended amount. "Oxidants, Antioxidants, and the Degenerative Diseases of Ageing", Ames, Bruce N., et al, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, September 1993;90:7915-7922.
Deficiencies in B12 B6, and folic acid adversely effect brain function and contribute to certain dementias. Presented at the European Conference on Alzheimer's by Dr. Irwin Rosenberg of Tufts University.
Prenatal magnesium supplementation lower the risk of cerebral palsy by as much as 90%. It also reduces the risk of mental retardation. JAMA, Dec. 12, 1996.
Pre-cancerous skin growths can be reduced by over 30% if dietary fat intake can be cut to 20% of daily calories according to dermatology researchers at Baylor college of Medicine.
Supplemental ingestion of the amino acid, glutamine dramatically decreases the incidence of infection for those who participate in prolonged aerobic exercise. It seems available glutamine reserves in the body are depleted by prolonged bouts of exercise and high levels are needed to support a healthy immune system. Castel LM, Poortmans JR, Newsholme EA. Does glutamine have a role in reducing infections in athletes? European Journal of Applied Physiology, 1996; 73, pp 488-90.